Do you feel worthy of recovery? Do you blame yourself for your cancer? Do you feel helpless, hopeless or find you are self-sabotaging your progress? If so, it is vital you’ll understand how these mindsets inhibit your body’s ability to fight and recover from cancer and how they impact the functioning of your immune system!
Every now and then I get to meet a patient who truly inspires me. It can be their insatiable curiosity, their courage and open mind or simply the fact they read every cancer related book on the planet. Such one patient referred me to a book titled The Healing Journey by A.J. Cunningham which she found compelling.
Alastair Cunningham is the director of The Healing Journey program, a scientist and psychologist. Hi is a professor at the University of Toronto and a cancer survivor himself. The Healing Journey is a program for people who want to learn how to help themselves when they have cancer, or other serious chronic diseases. It is a practical course, providing simple, psychological and spiritual tools which promote inner harmony, peace and healing, methods that can help any of us become a “healed person”. The program has been developed and evaluated at a large cancer treatment and research center, and parts of it have been offered there and at cancer support centers since 1982.
What my patient found compelling about Cunningham’s program is that it reconcile science, psychology and spirituality. He and his team have taken the brave step toward a true whole person approach to recovery and it is that which prompted her to share this with me. There is tremendous value in this program and if you are fortunate enough to live in near any of the Wellspring Cancer Centers in Toronto and other parts of Canada I highly recommend you attend it.
As a practitioner, I found Cunningham’s language and the way he connected the dots through his writing very powerful and valuable. He provided a clear and concise explanation of the relationship between the physical organic event of disease and the psychological and spiritual dimensions.
“Suffering is a mental reaction to events perceived as unwanted. Much of the suffering cancer causes comes from reflecting on the diagnosis and what it implies, rather than directly from the disease itself. Cancer is thus an existential crisis, not simply a physical problem. If we consider the task of the health care professional to be assisting healing, and “healing” in the broadest sense to mean the relief of suffering, then various approaches can be used to help the patient, who may be extremely anxious for his or her life.” ~ A.J. Cunningham
“The usual medical strategy is to work directly on the body, attempting to remove the cancer and alleviate symptoms, thus eliminating or minimizing the physical cause of the suffering. A psychological approach is also feasible and , ideally, complements the medical , helping people to change their mental reaction to the situation by modifying the internal monologue and the distress thus engendered. A “spiritual” level in the healing of suffering is also available, and it has a long history in traditional cultures, although it is little understood by medical science.”
I am completely on board with this view but only to the point of defining “spirituality”. The Healing Journey definition of “spiritual” is “helping the suffering person to connect with an aspect of self that has been labelled as spiritual self, the Divine within, God, the Tao etc”. This view in my opinion has a religious aspect to it. A person suffering gain a sense of being a part of something bigger thus his experience or the threat to his body is perceived as much less important. My definition of “spiritual” is drawn from Viktor Frankle’s teaching and therefore revolves around Meaning, as meaning of life. Working from this perspective peace of mind and/or healing can be gained by finding meaning in every moment, in every event and stem from one’s freedom of choice. It is the freedom to find the “good” in that which is perceived as “bad”, the silver lining around every dark cloud if you will.
If you’re thinking we’re only splitting hair here, well that is your choice of course 🙂 as for me, I am grateful to learn about this valuable resource and Cunningham’s contribution.
If you are interested in learning more The Healing Journey Program, visit this link. It offers access to all the written material and audio recordings from the program on their website.
You can also watch this video:
For just a moment, imagine your brain as an orchestra. Your musical instruments are your beliefs, perceptions, emotions and attitudes. Each instrument vibrates at a specific frequency to create a unique sound, the sound of your mind.
We have learned to observe good health as a state of harmony and balance within, and illness as a state of imbalance or disharmony. Therefore when illness is present, the sound is likely to not be harmonious which suggest the vibration generated by the entire orchestra is one of disharmony.
The Mind and Illness
Harmful beliefs, erroneous perceptions and unresolved emotional turmoil fuel the Subconscious with disharmonious vibrations, and the result is illness. In a state of illness, the soundtrack of your subconscious mind would be like an orchestra of untrained musicians playing un-tuned instruments.
We can safely say that without being aware of it and certainly without wishing for it, we “think” ourselves into illness because our thoughts, beliefs and emotions affect the body.
The Law of Vibration states that: “Everything in the universe is what it is by virtue of its rate of vibration. Change the rate of vibration and you change the nature, quality, and form. The vast panorama of nature, both visible and invisible, is being constantly changed by simply changing the rate of vibration, and as thought is a vibration, we can exercise this power. We can change the vibration and thus produce any condition that we desire to manifest in our bodies.” (Charles F. Hannel).
Risking oversimplification, I created the Subconscious Illness Paradigm model to illustrate how Mind factors affect our brain and our body.
Restoring Harmony to the Mind and Body
One of the most significant discoveries we’ve made is that we actually can “think” ourselves back into health. And though we are still exploring how and to what degree the above statement is true, we know that we have an innate capacity and ability to participate and our experience. And we can do so by changing our Mind, or better say, Subconscious Mind.
The challenge for a long time was to form a methodical and systematic practice to engage with the Subconscious Mind and to do so in a way that is meaningful and authentic. To get the Subconscious Mind back into a harmonic state of health, we must identify, address and heal every aspect of the governing mental Paradigm that is not in harmony. We must change values, beliefs and perceptions that are negative and inhibiting to our health to positive and supporting of our health.
“The way to health is founded on the law of vibration, which is the basis of all science, and this law is brought into operation by the Mind, the ‘world within’. It is a matter of individual effort and practice. Our world of power is within. If we are wise, we shall not waste time and effort in trying to deal with effects as we find them in the ‘world without’, which is only an external, a reflection.” (Charles F. Hannel)
Immersive Healing which utilizes Clinical Hypnotherapy as its therapeutic vehicle is a method for changing disharmonious Mind patterns into harmonious. If disharmonious patterns promoted illness, then by changing from their quality from negative to positive, we change their effect from destructive to constructive and allow healing to begin. As outline in the Subconscious Health Paradigm model, discord, disharmony, and disease give way to mental, psychological and physical health.
The two Mind models illustrations can be found in my book The New Cancer Paradigm. If you wish to learn more about the Mind, illness and our individual ability to transition back into health, this book is to provide you tools and techniques to do so.
Cancer is more than just a physical event, it affects every aspect of our being. Emotional pain, mental strains and even spiritual challenges are rooted in the very core of illness and increasingly patients are seeking to find non-pharmaceutical solutions to these challenges such as Hypnosis.
If you ever had medical emergency you already know that the onset of a such threat is frightening to say the least. For many people the ground seem to have shifted beneath their feet and in spite of themselves they unwillingly begin to contemplate the unthinkable. Fear gets stronger because we’re not sure what this threat means to our livelihood, what it means to our family and career. We’re not sure that we have the inner strength or the innate resources to cope with all that is about to come.
While fear is a perfectly normal respond to any life threatening event, it can quickly paint our experience with anxious and dark colors. Here is where hypnosis can be of tremendous help to patients, offering relief and remedy not only to our thoughts, beliefs and fears but also to our body.
6 Ways Hypnosis Can Help Cancer Patients
Hypnosis, as an adjunct therapy to conventional medical care can help patients address a wide range of challenges and symptoms. It has shown to help with the following:
1. Lessen anticipatory fear and anxiety.
2. Lessen many adverse treatment side effects.
3. Accelerate rate of recovery from the treatment.
4. Improve patient’s attitude toward treatment.
5. Enhance patient’s outlook for possible recovery.
6. Instill a sense of mastery during and after treatment.
Because patients can feel and experience the results from their hypnosis session right away it is the perfect natural and noninvasive, drug-less and painless therapy. Either working with a hypnotherapist in his or her office or listening to a self-hypnosis recording; patients can play an active role in their healing and participate in their treatment.
More Cancer Treatment Centers Offer Complimentary Cancer Care
Now days many cancer treatment Centers offer patients access to Complementary Alternative services. Services such as massage therapy, acupuncture, Qigong and even music therapy are more common than ever and patients greatly benefit.
Hypnosis also makes its way into mainstream facilities, slowly but surely. The trend is positive and I can attest to this myself having developed a relationship with one of Boston’s most prestigious Cancer institutions. Doctors, even the skeptics or those still holding some misconception about the practice and its clinical value simply cannot ignore the ever growing body of evidence that strongly support it.
For medical professionals and patients alike research is the definitive factor and rightly so. It is likely that with more quality research and greater awareness to the validity and efficacy of Hypnosis for cancer its use will increase. In the meantime, patients will continue to manage their care outside the hospital walls.
Emotional Freedom Technique is a form of complementary intervention. Though relatively new, it has gained recognition by many clinicians and has been endorsed by prominent figures in the realm of alternative medicine, such as Deepak Chopra. EFT can be applied to many different ills and challenges but for cancer patients it offers a practical and effective way to engage in their own care before, during and after their medical treatment.
What is EFT?
EFT is a form of “emotional acupuncture” or “mindful acupressure” that involves the stimulation of traditional Chinese acupuncture points. However unlike acupuncture, instead of using needles EFT uses a technique of gentle tapping on these points.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, currently undergo treatment or even in remission and simply want to maintain your state of well being, EFT may be the right choice of practice for you. Not only it is easy to learn and easy to practice and it often packs significant results; you can now learn how to practice it, online, from the comfort of your own home.
How does it work?
In EFT we use our finger tips to systematically tap on various acupressure points on the face, hands and body while focusing on a problem or issue we wish to resolve. EFT also uses verbalization. It involves verbalizing the “issue” combined with a phrase of affirmation. Together the verbalization and tapping seem to release the intensity or charge of the “issue” we tap on.
The Mind Body connection
It is no secret that our body, mind, and emotions are intimately connected. Beyond the physical symptoms of the illness, being diagnosed or undergoing treatment raise a host of emotions and thoughts, like fear and anxiety for example, which often times affect the way we feel in our body. When we apply EFT to something that upsets us – our thoughts, our feelings, and our bodily responses seem to shift. In other words EFT allows us to release and transform the way feelings like guilt, fear, or anger may be affecting our bodies and our health.
EFT let us take part and ownership of our healing journey. It will help us cope with and overcome fear, anxiety, guilt, blame and shame. It will help us ease physical discomfort and lessen the impact of treatment side effects. It empowers us to maintain a positive mindset.
EFT for Cancer online
EFT for Cancer sessions are conducted via a simple webcam (video camera for computers). We interact face to face as if you were right here in my office. In this series of three sessions you will learn the ABCs of Emotional Freedom Technique for Cancer and its application. EFT for Cancer is different from EFT for behavior modification or addictions. While the core principles are still valid, illnesses such as cancer require a deeper understanding of what you are going through and what you need to heal.
Here is what you get when you sign up
1. Three one hour private sessions.
2. Your complete guide to Emotional Freedom Technique for Cancer.
3. The essence of EFT, the Discovery Statement.
4. EFT basic and advance training including unique tools for cancer patients.
5. How to formulate EFT phrases and apply them for your particular diagnosis/condition.
6. Understanding common psychological inhibitors (self sabotage) and how this impedes healing.
7. How to identify different “aspects” of problems, and what to do when aspects shift.
8. Advance EFT techniques such as the Movie Technique, and Chasing the Pain.
9. Expert tips and support based on years of experience.
A video of your session
At the end of our session you will get a short video of our meeting. This will act as a reminder when you practice on your own. Also, as an active client you get preference in scheduling over new clients. This privilege is available for one year after our initial meeting.
If this entices you to take action, contact me and I’ll be sure to provide you with all the necessary details and answer any question you may have.
If you are facing caner and still can’t shake the habit of smoking, hypnosis may be what the doctor ordered. Sure there are many ways to quit smoking and people tend to be creative when it comes to their health. Some will try the old fashion cold turkey method while others may find therapy to be effective. Some will try nicotine patches and gums or electronic cigarettes or any combinations of the above to break free, but if you are looking for a more holistic approach to smoking cessation; one that is safe and practical and most of all effective, hypnosis can be it.
The online medical source WEBMD says “Smoking is a dangerous, even deadly habit. It’s a leading cause of cancer. It also increases your risk for heart attacks, strokes, lung disease, and other health problems, including bone fractures and cataracts.” Now this is no breaking news but knowing this we understand that by breaking free from this habit we improve our odds for recovery and a better quality of life.
As far as research goes there is no consensus. Some findings approve the use of hypnosis for smoking cessation and others do not. This type of agreeing-to-disagree is common when it come to research; the bottom line is that further exploration is needed. In the meantime I personally have helped scores of patients to regain control of their behavior and break free from this habit with hypnosis.
Is Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation Safe?
When it comes to finding the right hypnotherapist, it’s worth your time to do the research. Call him or her and get a sense of what they are like, their manner and knowledge. Ask questions and make sure you get answers that make you feel comfortable and safe, and as always, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Above all, remember to find a hypnotherapist that understands Cancer and Cancer patients, not everyone do. Cancer patients face all sorts of challenges while undergoing treatment and it’s important the practitioner you choose understand your needs.
How Long Does a Smoking Cessation Session Last?
It is my opinion alone that it takes more than just one hour to do it right. In fact, in my office a smoking cessation session is a three hours ordeal. Now I am fully aware that there are ads and practitioners that tell you it takes only an hour for you to quit, this is what I call “the one hour miracle session”. Yet all too often those who tried this miraculous approach ended up in my office frustrated and upset. Not only their hopes were broken but now they have an added layer of stress to an already active critiquing inner dialog.
For the sake of argument, the one hour session may work for some people but they are the exception and not the rule. It is nothing short of arrogance to dissolve a lifetime of inner conflicts in such a short period of time. It is definitely meaningful for patients who are already face the stressful terrain of cancer care to spend more time attending and resolving their harmful perceptions and beliefs.
Can I Practice Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation at Home?
The next best thing to being in my office is working with self-hypnosis or guided-imagery audio programs for smoking cessation. Doing so will support your effort to quit and strengthen your new found inner image of yourself as a non smoker. Again, there are various products out there with various scripts and approaches, make sure you listen to samples from my Be Smoke Free CD so you can make a smart decision.
The most important thing to remember is that the purpose of either one-on-one hypnosis sessions or the audio programs is to help you establish a new belief i.e. that smoking is no longer relevant to who you are, the new you. There is no point in creating more struggles for you and by that I mean telling you to “stop smoking”. This will only make things more difficult because that which we resist tend to persist. Therefore the point is to help you see yourself in a new way, as a non smoker, as a person with meaning and purpose, a person who choose life instead of death.
Take your time to make up your mind. When you have, harness the power of your mind to change your life with hypnosis.
For many cancer patients, the very thought of having surgery produces anxiety and fear and worry tend to consume our attention. Apart from worrying about potential complications, surgery, even a “minor” one disrupt our lives and means “down time” for recovery.
Numerous studies confirm that using hypnosis in a clinical setting, and more specifically during and after surgery is beneficial. These studies led many medical facilities and even the all skeptical insurance companies to embrace the use of a short hypnotic intervention for patients as part of their strategy for well being.
One such study followed a group of people who underwent hypnosis, including self-hypnosis, for a period of 15-minutes before their surgery. The results of this study were fascinating to say the least; those using hypnosis and self-hypnosis needed less anesthesia, experienced a lesser degree of blood loss (i.e. their bodies were able to cope with the trauma of surgery more effectively), were found to heal at a faster rate and were able to leave hospital earlier than those in the control group who didn’t use any form of hypnosis.
As this study suggests, hypnosis play a vital role when it comes to mentally preparing a person for cancer surgery. Hypnosis for surgery conditions and prepares the mind for the successful procedure. It also helps to lessen a person’s feelings of anticipatory anxiety and the effects of the physical trauma of surgery on the body. What’s more it can help speed up the rate of recovery. If you are like many of my clients, recovering within the familiar environment of home is preferable to recovery time spent within the clinical environment of a hospital.
Interestingly, I recently treated a client that was scheduled for a bone marrow biopsy – a procedure that is known to be of some discomfort. The client came to see me a day before the biopsy and we worked for an hour and a half. I also gave him a guided imagery CD for Surgery After the treatment had taken place, the client reported back to me and told me that this was the fastest treatment he had ever experienced. Not only did he find the treatment to be fast, he also reported feeling significantly less pain and felt that he recovered at a much faster rate than usual.
From this we learn that hypnosis is not only beneficial in helping a person to prepare for and manage cancer surgery, it can also help you to prepare for and cope with any procedure involving physical discomfort that is needed as part of your overall medical treatment plan.
If you are scheduled to undergo surgery in the near future and wish to be pro-active, feel and be more in control of your journey and mentally prepared consider using hypnosis for surgery. One option available to you is Immersive Healing which utilizes hypnotherapy as its therapeutic vehicle. Immersive Healing can help you improve your odds for a successful outcome and it can be practiced either face to face (in office) or online via Skype.
Boston Clinical Hypnosis. Many of my clients researched variety of complementary or alternative cancer treatments before they’ve learned about Immersive Healing. Rightfully so, they wanted to know which type of treatment is right for them. When they first contacted me for more information I offered the following advice.
I invited them to first define what it is that they wanted; or expected from their treatment (beyond the obvious that it should be effective. A practical way to do this is to ask yourself a few questions.
You can begin by asking yourself about the kind of support you are looking for. Is it physical support? Emotional support? Or even support on a spiritual level?
If you are seeking support for your body i.e. you want to gain strength and have more energy consider seeing a nutritional practitioner or a Naturopath Doctor. They can help you work out a dietary plan and supplements that will provide you with optimum levels of nutrition, cleanse your blood and improve your overall physical experience.
If you are seeking psychological support to strengthen your resolve to heal and manage feelings that naturally accompany the cancer such as fear, anxiety and even shame consider seeing a psychotherapist. He or she can provide you the tools to better cope with the onslaught of emotions and feelings cancer arise.
If you are however seeking to increase your odds for recovery and the effectiveness of your medial treatment you must go beyond the Conscious Mind into the Operating System of your being i.e. the Subconscious Mind. if this is is your intention, consider Immersive Healing. Immersive Healing let you become an active participant in your own healing.
Immersive Healing works in the realm of the subconscious level. Its therapeutic process is designed to let you identify, resolve and, ultimately, heal the root cause of the illness, the mental seed of cancer. Immersive Healing cleanse the Mind by eliminating erroneous perceptions and harmful mental patterns that produced the conditions for the development of cancer in the first place. It rewrites your subconscious programming so it can produce new and better results i.e. health instead of illness.
Some of my clients are seeking a deeper spiritual understanding of themselves. This in my view is a part of the healing process, though you need not be a religious person per se to truly benefit and heal. You can gain great strength simply by contemplating and discovering a deeper meaning in your illness and in your life. If spirituality is what you seek and you are a religious person approach your priest, your minister, your rabbi etc. and draw strength from their wisdom. If you are not a religious person find the practitioner that resonate with you the most and draw your strength from them.
The simple answer to the above question is that you can benefit from working or being supported on several levels. Look for that which resonate with you the most and trust your gut feeling. If the temptation arise to do what other did, remember that we are all unique. Each individual needs to find the type of therapy that works best for them and fits with their own particular belief system.
I am often asked about the benefits one can expect from complementary cancer treatment, so below I have listed what I consider to be the four top benefits.
1. Feeling empowered: Taking part in the decision making process of your health care plan and being an active participant in your healing is empowering. It takes you from a passive mode to an active mode, and helps you to feel that you are back in the driving seat when it comes to your health. While your medical care team is doing all that they can do, you can feel that you too are playing a part in the process and doing all that you can possibly do to create the best environment within your body for healing to take place.
2. The human connection: When you work with a practitioner of complementary alternative medicine, certainly when working with me, you get a more personalized one-to-one connection. You get more than just the few minutes allocated to you by your doctor; with me you get at least an hour and a half. Being rushed and having to wait for doctors to show up, for test results and all that is in between can make a person feel as if he or she is just their illness.
3. Safe, non-invasive treatment: Immersive Healing offers a safe, non-invasive and drugless process of healing. It can be practiced in conjunction with conventional medical care. Results can be felt in ‘real time’, meaning that they are felt as they occur, first in the Mind and then in the body. There is no need to spend time in hospital, no need to worry about dependency or side effects from medication and no downtime spent in recovering from treatment. These aspects of the treatment are very important because at a time when your body is being overloaded with medical treatment, drugs, hospital stays and recovery time etc. the last thing that you need is to add more of the same.
4. A holistic approach to illness: When you use alternative cancer treatments you get support on all levels, by this I mean that your emotional and spiritual well-being is acknowledged and addressed. Some types of complementary alternative therapies also address the physical dimension (for example those that focus on health through nutrition) and, of course, hypnosis works with the mind-body connection, where the aim is to enable the physical body to follow the healing that takes place in the mind. Without disrespecting to the amazing work that your medical team is doing, it has to be said that medical professionals are trained to treat the disease and not the whole person. In my office I offer a more holistic approach, treating the whole person and not just their illness.
If you are considering consulting a complementary alternative practitioner to help support you through the process of healing from cancer, there are certain, important questions that you must ask.
Researching and questioning a practitioner is important because you need to be sure that you will be safe and that the practitioner’s work will serve as a complement to the medical treatment you are receiving as part of your conventional medical care. It is vital that you find a type of complementary alternative treatment that supplements and complements, rather than opposes, all the good work that is being done by your medical treatment.
If a complementary alternative practitioner advises you to discontinue your medical treatment and to use only alternative methods, this is a red flag. I would strongly advise that you to discard this advice and look elsewhere for support.
Very often, the best possible outcome for people with cancer, or any other chronic illness, is achieved by integrating both conventional medical treatments and alternative treatments. In doing so, you are supported on all levels – you have all your bases covered so to speak. Your medical team is working to heal you on the physical level and your complementary alternative practitioner is working to support you on an emotional and spiritual level.
Another important question you might want to ask is about the scientific evidence that validates the type of treatment they offer. Ask for research and scientific studies in their field so that you can be sure that you aren’t going to be wasting your time.
The type of healing I offer, Immersive Healing, is firmly grounded in the science of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI); you can find plenty information about PNI online. If you wish, I can provide more information and point you in the right direction.
Finally, I think another important question to ask any complementary alternative practitioner you may be considering consulting is what experience they have with cancer and cancer patients.
Cancer patients have very specific emotional and psychological needs that differ greatly from the needs of someone who wants to overcome an addiction or who wants to lose weight. Illness such as cancer bring with it a whole spectrum of emotions, concerns and fears so it is very important for you to find out if the practitioner you are considering consulting has knowledge of cancer and experience with cancer patients.
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About Avinoam Lerner
Avinoam Lerner is a Practitioner in the Field of Complementary Medicine specializing in Cancer Wellness & Recovery. Author of The New Cancer Paradigm.
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